As we start the New Year, I thought it would be a good time to address some of the things that active addiction steals from your life. Addiction is a thief of many things, and it is a horrible, ugly place to be. I know, because I have been there. It’s a place filled with darkness, hopelessness, and despair, and given enough time, addiction will steal everything from you. During my drinking days, addiction stole so many things that little by little, my life became devoid of everything that I cared about.
How My Addiction to Alcohol Began
I never considered what addiction would steal from me because my relationship with alcohol started out innocently enough. I drank the same way that my high school friends did, on the weekends at parties. But it didn’t last that way for long. I quickly realized that when I drank, which wasn’t that often because we were all underage, I didn’t stop until I passed out. For that reason, I spent the better part of my early 20s abstaining from booze.
When I did start drinking again, it was as though I had never stopped. My binge drinking continued even though it was sometimes weeks or months between binges. It was that way for a long time — until it wasn’t anymore. Flash forward a few years and I was in the depths of alcoholism, and addiction was progressively stealing all the things that mattered to me.
What Active Addiction Stole from Me
The first thing to go was my honesty. I was a rule-follower growing up. I did the things that I was supposed to do, I was responsible and I didn’t have a problem with lying (I was a terrible liar and always got caught if I even tried). When I was in active addiction, I lied about everything. I lied to make things sound better than they were, or worse than they were, depending on which would benefit me more. I lied about where I was and who I was with. I lied about my drinking, of course. When you hear someone say that if an addict’s lips are moving, that person is lying, know that it’s true. I couldn’t be honest with anyone, including myself.
Next, it was my self-respect that I kissed goodbye. I acted out, was promiscuous, broke the law and was arrested, and I hated myself for it. Addiction took away my ability to act in a respectable manner, something that I had always tried to do. I said and did things when I was drinking that I would never have said or done sober. And then the booze would wear off and I would feel disgusted with myself. How can a person like that have any self-respect left?
Then addiction began stealing away my relationships. None of my friendships were based on anything meaningful. To those who didn’t know how bad my drinking had gotten, I was lying every day. And to those with whom I drank, well, those weren’t real friendships anyway. My family had enough and they no longer wanted anything to do with me. To this day, after being sober for over six years, many of those relationships are still lost.
One of the last things addiction stole from me, and what I think was the catalyst for me getting help, was my dignity. There is nothing dignified about passing out and being found lying in the dirt next to a dumpster. There is nothing dignified about trying to remember what horrible things I did in a blackout. There is nothing dignified in entering a psychiatric hospital rather than admit I was an alcoholic. There is nothing dignified in losing those that I love. It was only then, when my dignity was gone, that I knew, deep in my soul, that if I didn’t get help, I was going to die.
Getting Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
I did get help and I did get sober. I no longer allow addiction to steal anything from me. Most of the things that I lost in addiction, I have regained in recovery. And I have been given so much more. Recovery is a new life, full of possibility, opportunity, and most importantly, hope.
I want those who are being robbed of what they care about by active addiction to know that there is hope on the other side. You can recover, you can find peace, and you can reclaim what was taken from you by your addiction. I hope that 2019 is the year that it happens for you.